Respiratory Viral Infections and Asthma: Is There a Link?

Erwin W. Gelfand, MD

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In This Article

Bronchial Inflammation and Airway Hyperresponsiveness

The interactions between virus and host are very complicated. Although the relationship between respiratory viral infections and the onset of asthma has not been entirely defined, a link between exacerbations of bronchial inflammation and enhancement of allergic airway responses is much more clear. Acute infection can intensify airway narrowing and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR). Viral-induced alterations of epithelial cell structure and function, increased inflammatory cell accumulation in the tissue and around airways, edema of airway walls, and exposure of airway nerve endings in sites of epithelial cell sloughing contribute to altered airway function.[1] These alterations in airway function may contribute to asthma exacerbation.

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